PUNXSUTAWNEY — The standout performances of senior runner A.J. Meterko and junior thrower Brody Morgan have been vital to the Punxsy boys' track and field team's success this season. Tuesday, quality times, distances and heights from other members of the Chucks were also an important part of the squad's 91-59 victory over St. Marys.
St. Marys kept things close in most of the events, but Punxsy (3-0) earned a 53-34 victory on the track and a 38-25 win in the field thanks to depth throughout.
"We had a number of other kids that supported the point total today," Punxsy head coach John Smith said. "It was key, because a little slip by any of those (competitors) would have made this meet a lot closer than it really was."
Where that depth was noticed most was in the relay events, which Punxsy swept. Tom Wagner, Quinton Weber, Luke Fugate and Derick Kelly won the 4x800 in 9:11; Glenn Perry, Devon Luzell, Matt Burke and Spencer Fiumara teamed up to win the 4x100 in 47.3; and Kevin Hughes, Kelly, Wagner and Meterko were winners in the 4x400 (3:52).
"We knew that was one key today," Smith said. "That's 15 points for us and is actually a 30-point spread in the meet."
Meterko also won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs in 2:04 and 4:41, respectively. Meterko and Morgan were Punxsy's only multiple winners on the track, as Morgan was first in the shot put (45-1) and javelin (140-10).
Punxsy held St. Marys' best runner, Gideon Woelfel, to just one victory. He finished first in the 3,200-meter run in 11:11, but was followed by Punxsy's Nathan Ward (11:39) and Fugate (11:41).
Woelfel was second to Meterko in the other two distance events, and Ward wasn't far behind — 2:09 compared to 2:11 in the 800 run and 4:53 compared to 4:58 in the 1,600 run.
"We knew that they had (Gideon) Woelfel, who is strong," Smith said. "We figured we could counter that a little bit with A.J. and Nathan Ward and get some points in those events."
The Chucks also had two more wins on the track, with Luzell, a senior, winning the 100-meter dash in 12.0 seconds and Dylan Lettie taking first in the 300-meter hurdles in 48.2.
Lettie finished as Punxsy's only competitor to win a track event and a field event. Lettie followed his 300 hurdles victory by leaping 5-4 in the high jump for the triumph.
The Chucks also dominated the other jumping events, with Kevin Byars winning the long jump (17-5) and Jesse Reichard finishing first in the triple jump (37-9 3/4).
Reichard started Punxsy's only field sweep with his triple jump win. Brett Neal finished second in 35-2, and both Tom Renwick and Christian Falgout leaped 33-9 to tie for third place.
Punxsy didn't win the discus, but it received second- and third-place distances from Stephen Stumpf (107-5) and Jordan London (103-8).
Tyler Baer and Tristan Acre tied for second place in the pole vault with a 7-0 vault, and Punxsy's final place-winning mark in the field came from Lance Deet, whose high jump of five feet was good enough for third place.
On the track, Luzell, Fiumara and Perry ran well in the 100-meter dash before combining for first in the 4x100 relay. Luzell won the 100, and Fiumara (12.1) and Perry (12.2) closely followed him in second and third place.
The weather wasn't cold and rainy, and the Chucks lost four track events, but they were able to grab four team points in three of those events.
"We pretty much split in a lot of events. The weather seemed to hamper both teams. But overall, the kids got through it," Smith said. "That's what we wanted to do. We're looking forward to maybe some good performances later in the week if the weather warms up."
St. Marys senior Brian Merritt won both the 200- and 400-meter dashes in 23.9 and 54.4 seconds, respectively, but the Chucks finished second and third in both events.
Fiumara (24.5) and Perry (25.1) were once again second and third — this time in the 200 dash — and Hughes (55.5) and Kelly (57.1) were the next two place-winners after Merritt in the 400 dash.
Smith said that he was cautious to not overrun his athletes. Punxsy competed at the Brookville invitational last Saturday before Tuesday's meet against St. Marys and will host State College Thursday and compete in the Butler invitational Friday.
"We're not sure how hard we want to push in some events (against State College), depending on the weather, because we know we have a big meet the day after," Smith said.